Paul Wade’s book is a very informative piece of literature. Some say, game changing.
Back in the 70s, 80s and 90s most citizens of the western world were indoctrinated to believe that weight lifting was superior to bodyweight training. Our heros became the bodybuilders, the football players and the strongman competitors. Magnus Ver Magnusson, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lou Ferrigno, Walter Payton and other musclebound people who relied on weights.
The physiques of massive bodybuilders became the in thing and we were fooled into believing that a new era of scientific strength training had been ushered in. The reality is that nothing could be farther from the truth.
Since the 60s, the western way of living has made men weaker! Scientific breakthroughs meant to make our lives easier, made us soft, physically weak and unhealthy. We developed cars so that men and women no longer had to walk long distances. As a result, our stamina pales in comparison to cultures like the tarahumara people of Mexico.
We developed antibiotics and as a result, many of us have weak immune systems and dysfunctional metabolisms. The processed foods that we consume is producing the fattest generation in world history. In the meantime, we have convinced ourselves that we are healthier, faster, stronger and our physical well-being is superior.
In the early history of this country, men (of African descent) woke every morning to do back-breaking labor that would leave most modern men incapacitated. These black men and their descendants became legendary figures like Venture Smith and Jack Johnson.
Other legendary strongmen such as Hermann Goerner, Mark Berry, Eugene Sandow, George Hackenschmidt, Arthur Saxon and others whose names have been lost in antiquity have proven that not only are modern methods of strength development overrated, but the contemporary strongman is not the equal of the old-time strongman. Why? The old-time strongman depended on systems based on progressions and volume, while the modern day strongman is the product of protein powders, PEDs and creatine.
Why Paul “Coach” Wade is important is that his book, “Convict Conditioning” is an example of training methodologies from a bygone era. His book breaks down functional strength into primary categories in which you must focus to become well round with regard to strength. They are:
chest and triceps
lower back and spine
Paul Wade gives us his background as a prison inmate in a maximum security facility. Paul allegedly lived in an environment where it was either become strong or become prey for the strong. Strength was a matter of preserving your manhood and your life. Accordingly, in the prison system old time techniques of strength development existed in the world of the penitentiary that was devoid of fancy sports supplement stores or fancy gym equipment. Old school calisthenics training was preserved, not by commercialism, but by necessity.
Whether you buy Paul “Coach” Wade’s story of prison, or his explanation as to why he keeps his identity secret, it has been acknowledged by a lot of people who have purchased the book that Paul Wade’s knowledge works.
Not only is his information useful, it is crucial to an understanding of calisthenics, and how you can develop the strong core, shoulders back and legs that so many of the extreme calisthenics practitioners have.